Tom Assheton had his damascene moment in the mid 90’s, the result of which is our Tomtom business today. On a trip to France to visit the British and Commonwealth War Graves he purchased, on a whim, a box of Cuban cigars. A box of Romeo y Julieta Petit Julietas. On return from France, and with the box smoked, he declared a change of direction – good bye to the Rural Surveying job and hello Cigar Merchant. His wife immediately dispatched him to Havana and so begun the first steps to the foundation of Tomtom Cigars …. and further down the line the Tomtom cafés.
Tom met the major players in the UK cigar trade whilst in Cuba; Nick Freeman, Jemma Freeman, Simon Chase (all of Hunters & Frankau, the Habanos importer for UK), Edward Sahakian (Davidoff), Desmond Sautter etc. He was encouraged to open a store – our little gem in Elizabeth Street being the result.
In Havana there are a number of cigar factories. Prominent amongst these is the Partagas Factory Shop (a famous façade). The little shop in the factory was a place of charm and temptation. Contiguous was the small coffee bar, allowing customers to puff their Havanas and sip espresso in a most conducive atmosphere. It felt like heaven, in the sense that Mark Twain understood the concept.
Tom returned to London and, after scooting about on his wife’s Vespa for some months, found a premises at 63 Elizabeth Street. Tomtom Cigars opened its doors to the public on 5th December 1997. Our reputation as one of London’s leading cigar merchants has grown from year to year. Along the way we picked up various awards including the millennial Cigar Merchant of the year, Silver Chaveta and Forest’s Cigar Smoker of the Year…
In the back of Tom’s mind was the happy memory of the coffee bar he encountered in the Partagas shop. Unable to shoe-horn a bar into the cigar store at no. 63, Tom decided to open a separate establishment at the end of the street. August 2008 saw the arrival of Tomtom Coffee House at 114 Ebury Street. The success of this café venture prompted a further local step: Tom opened Tomtom Mess Hall one street away in July 2014. And that is where we stand today; our shop ‘Tomtom Cigars’ selling Havanas cigars, our coffee beans and our whisky; ‘Tomtom Coffee House’ where you can drink coffee and breakfast/lunch on simple, tasty dishes with eggs as a mainstay and ‘Tomtom Mess Hall’ where the choice is delicious gourmet burgers, coffee and cocktails (and breakfast).
Tomtom has the highest classification from Habanos, the Cuban Cigar Authority, as a Specialist in Havanas (certified Gold). We have all the usual Havana Cigars and a wide selection of the less available brands. At any one time we have Limited Edition Havanas in stock as well as some aged smokes. We believe the magic of a fine, handmade Cuban Cigar can gloriously enhance your mood. You can try a smoke from our selection of single loose cigars. This ‘research’ will help you make an informed decision about box purchases. We are one of the few places in the country where you can still smoke in doors. We are recognised by City of Westminster council as a Havana Specialist. As such our customers are allowed to taste our cigars on the premises at 63 Elizabeth Street.
Coffee and Whisky. A more recent addition to our shop stock is our full range of Tomtom Arabica Coffee Beans: which we can grind for you if you want. There is our espresso blend used with great success in the Coffee House and a variety of single farm and estate Arabica beans from all parts of the coffee growing world (all available to try in the Coffee House).
In 2011 we introduced a selection of variously aged Single Cask Malt Whiskies from different Scottish distilleries … bottle at full cask strength. So you have the pleasure of tasting them undiluted or if you prefer, add a drop of water. They are a superb match for your Havana evenings